ARDROSSAN CASTLEHILL ATHLETIC FOOTBALL CLUB 1897-1899
The Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald of 11 September 1896 carried the report below.
FOOTBALL CLUB STARTING IN ARDROSSAN?
We understand that there are prospects of a football club being again started in Ardrossan. The ground, we believe, has at last been prepared and the lovers of the game in the district feel happy. Several years have elapsed since football was last played in Ardrossan.
The new football club was Ardrossan Castlehill Athletic who played its first game on 9 January 1897 at Montfod Park, Ardrossan. The reference to several years elapsing since football was last played in Ardrossan probably refers to higher level football rather than occasional friendly games.
The Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald of 15 January 1897 carried the report below.
ARDROSSAN CASTLEHILL ATHLETIC 1 - SAND-DABS 2
Echoes From Montfod
We may inform those of our readers who are not in the know that the above (Montfod) is the name of the field on which the Ardrossan Castlehill Athletic juniors chase the little piece of inflated leather and on Saturday last (9 January 1897), they formally opened their hunting ground by engaging in a friendly match with those keen opponents of the game known in the district as the Sand-dabs. A few enthusiastic supporters turned out to witness the match and to urge their favourites on to victory. In the visitors' ranks, there were one or two players of some experience and it was thought that the homesters would have to put up with a severe thrashing but when the signal was given for a cessaton of hostilities, it was found that he narrow margin of only one goal separated the teams. On the whole, the game was stubbornly fought and some good bits of play were exhibited on both sides. The Sand-dabs won the toss and elected to play against the wind. The Athletics kicked off and for a time gave the opposing defence loads of work but do as they liked, the home forwards could not score. The visitors broke away with a good run and out of a scrimmage, they notched the first goal of the match. The play in this half was fairly well divided but at half time no advance had been made in the scoring department. From the way in which the visitors started the second period, it looked as it the ground team were in for a severe flogging but the Athletic defenders stood nobly to their girds and for some time ably negotiated the good intentions of their opponents but at length from a stray shot, the Sand-dabs found an opening and the Athletics were now two goals down. The Athletics, although having the worst of the game, continued to play gamely and just to show their rivals that they had not 'shot their bolt', they scampered off in the opposite direction and succeeded in registering their first and only point. From this to the finish, the Sand-dabs were the aggressive party but the homesters manged to keep them out and the game terminated in favour of the visitors by two goals to one. The Mondfod trundlers, clad in white shirts and blue trousers, looked a very tidy lot and with a few more games should be able to give some of the neighbouring junior teams a stiff run for supremacy. Now that a football club has been formed in Ardrossan once more, it is to be hoped the lovers of the game in the district will turn out and encourage the new organisation.
'Echoes from Montfod' is the name of a column in the sports page of the Herald that gave news of Ardrossan Castlehill Athletic. The spelling of 'Montfod' is as it was consistently spelt at that time and not as the modern 'Montfode'.
The first sentence of a report in the Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald of 5 November 1897 is shown below.
ARDROSSAN CASTLEHILL CLUB CONVERSAZIONE
The members of the Castlehill Athletic Club held a function of the above nature under the auspices of the Castlehill Tent Independent Order of Rechabites in the Assembly Hall, Ardrossan on Friday evening last (29 October 1897) when there was a large attendance.
The Independent Order of Rechabites was a Friendly Society founded in England in 1835 as part of the wider British temperance movement to promote total abstinence from alcoholic beverages.
The above report implies - but does not prove - that there may have been a link between Ardrossan Castlehill Athletic Football Club and Ardrossan Castlehill Tent Independent Order of Rechabites.
Ardrossan Castlehill Athletic Football Club played its first game on 9 January 1897. Its home games were played at Montfod Park, reputedly on the site of the Rowan Tree Restaurant (shown below in 2002 and 2010) on the North Shore.
The Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald of 21 April 1899 carried the report below.
ARDROSSAN CASTLEHILL ATHLETIC 2 - SALTCOATS FUSILIERS 0
The Ardrossan Castlehill Athletic and Saltcoats Fusiliers were the combatants at Montfod Park last Saturday (15 April 1899). The Athletics proved too many for the 'sodjers', the score being two to nil against the latter. Owing to the sphere bursting through coming in contact with a barbed wire which runs alongside the field, the game had to be stopped shortly after the commencement of the second half.
This was Ardrossan Castlehill Athletic's last reported game.